Visions of Home
Dad’s funeral was nice. It was what Dad would have wanted. It was also a major milestone. It was the first funeral attended by my kids since the one for their Mom. They’ve had other opportunities, for lack of a better term, but were never strong enough to attend, until now. They came to Dad’s though and although they admitted to me that it wasn’t easy, they did great.
My niece and nephew also attended. These are the children of my brother who died 11 months ago. This was their first new funeral as well. They too admitted how hard it was, yet my niece spoke during the service and my nephew (along with my son) served as a pall bearer. I’m extremely proud of them all.
For much of the weekend I’ve vacillated between having this task I needed to accomplish and feeling my grief. Now back at home, mostly what I feel is tired… and alone. My wife, brother and father are gone. The world seems emptier. I recognize this as my grief talking and know from experience to respect it, not fight it; eat, pray, exercise, write, read my Bible, try to sleep, do the basics, cut myself some slack.
Continuing plans to hold an event for the nursing home staff. Right after Dad’s death, I brought a card to the center thanking them for their support of my family and included a nice photo of Dad from when he was healthier. The card was quickly passed around to everyone and several made personal copies of the photo. They are grieving as well.
Mom is largely unaffected. She’s lost a little weight but her appetite is good. I’ve had her moved to a smaller, single person room. Just looking at her rattling around in her old room broke my heart. The new room will be an improvement. It’ll take a month or so for her to recognize the new room as hers but that’s ok.
When I first placed Mom (and Dad) in a facility, Mom almost immediately began this refrain, “…I’m ready to go home now.” It was incredibly difficult to hear but mitigated by the knowledge that Mom used to say the same thing when she was still at home. No matter where she was, she always felt that she needed to go somewhere else. The current litany had only a little to do with being in a nursing home and more to do with an innate desire to travel.
The past few months, I’ve noticed that when Mom talks of home, she often mentions the people who are there that she “needs” to see. Almost all of them are deceased. I’m beginning to think that “home” is less the house where she used to live and more the place where her loved ones are.
Yesterday, for the first time, Mom included my Dad on the list of people she needed to see. She even turned away me from at one point to ask Dad a question, then paused as if listening to the answer. When I asked her where was Dad, she said, “helping Mama and Daddy (her parents) at home.”
Everyday my Mom tells me she’s ready to go home. I used to quickly redirect her. Yesterday I squeezed her hand and said, “I know. You’ll go soon enough. How about we hangout together a bit first.” She smiled.